It was a chippy series between Ferris and Alabama-Hunstville this weekend, as the two combined for 33 penalties, but Ferris took care of business for its second-consecutive series sweep.
The Bulldog offense perked up over the weekend against the 4-26-4 Chargers, as Ferris posted five goals in each win, including some well-rounded production from the team.
The Bulldogs rode a two-goal performance from sophomore center Travis Ouellette to clinch a 5-2 victory in the first game of the series. Senior defenseman Scott Wietecha notched his second goal of the year to earn second-star honors, coming behind first-star Ouellette.
“We knew it’d be though, but we knew we had to match their enthusiasm,” said Ferris head coach Bob Daniels.
The Bulldogs piled up a 45-20 advantage in shots on goal over the Chargers as senior goaltender Pat Nagle stopped 18 shots on the night. Nagle moved into second place on Ferris’ all-time wins leader list with his 42nd career victory, passing former Bulldog Rob Hughston (1981-84).
The Bulldogs pushed their winning streak to five the next night as the two teams racked up a combined 69 penalty minutes in a 5-1 decision for Ferris.
It was senior left wing Mike Embach’s turn to post two goals on Saturday, as he notched a short-handed goal for one of his two lamplighters.
“We knew this weekend series was big for our RPI at the end of the season here and we need to continue to win out,” said Embach. “They wanted it more than us in the first but we battled back and cut down on the dumb penalties.”
Alabama-Huntsville took a 1-0 lead at the end of the first period, but a 3-0 run by Ferris in the second period, with goals by Embach, senior left wing Matt Kirzinger and junior right wing Aaron Schmit, put the game out of reach early.
Junior center Jordie Johnston notched one of the two third-period goals, along with Embach’s second goal to close out the contest.
The non-conference sweep pushes Ferris’ overall record to 16-12-4 on the season and the Bulldogs sit in fifth-place in the CCHA standings with 38 points, trailing fourth-place Western Michigan by three points.
The Bulldogs will now look forward to a monumental series against CCHA leader Notre Dame, with a road series against Ohio State on Feb. 24-25 being the only remaining series of the season for the Bulldogs before taking part in the CCHA Playoffs.
“I think we’re going to realize going into the Notre Dame series that we’ve got to be on our game defensively, and all around,” said Daniels. “We’re going to have to really be on top of our game in all aspects to have a good weekend.”
Ferris will look to sneak up into the top four positions in the CCHA before the end of the regular season, as the top five seeds get first-week byes in the playoffs and the top four teams get a home game in the second round of the playoffs.
“We don’t like Notre Dame at all,” said Embach. “Conference play is a different animal and there’s so much on the line for them…and there’s so much on the line for us right now down the stretch.” n